"Christian history is rich with memorable stories of men and women who secluded themselves from all others in order to seek the will of Him who matters most. A favorite of these stories involves Hudson Taylor, a young, exhausted missionary to China. In 1865, while back in England to rest and continue some medical studies, he struggled with a decision. He sensed that God might be leading him to start a new mission work that no one else was doing-- taking the gospel to the vast, unreached millions in the interior of China. For decades, almost all missionaries worked only in the coastal cities, rarely going inland. But Taylor was fearful of leading such a great enterprise, knowing that the burden of enlisting missionaries, as well as finding and maintaining their financial support, would rest on his shoulders.
By the quiet summer Sunday of June 25th, Hudson Taylor could stand the uncertainty no longer. Worn out and ill, he had gone to rest with friends in Brighton. But instead of enjoying their company he knew he must have silence and solitude, and he wandered out along the sands left by the receding tide. Although the scene was peaceful, he was in agony. A decision had to be made. He must know God's will. As he walked, the thought came,
"Why, if we are obeying the Lord, the responsibility rests with Him, not with us! Thou, Lord, Thou shalt have all the burden! At Thy bidding, as Thy servant I go forward, leaving results with Thee." "How restfully I turned away from the sands," he said, recalling the deliverance of that hour. "The conflict ended, all was joy and peace. I felt as if I could fly up the hill to Mr. Pearse's house. And how I did sleep that night! My dear wife thought Brighton had done wonders for me, and so it had."
And so, on the hinge of seeking His will through silence and solitude, God opened the door for the China Inland Mission. That same work continues to be used of God and has grown into the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, one of the world's great missionary endeavors.
God often makes His will clear to us in public, but there are times when he discloses it only in private. To discover it requires the Disciplines of silence and solitude." -Donald S. Whitney, From 'Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life'.
As I was sitting and watching Joshua, my grandson, this morning at Soccer practice, I was talking with the Lord, and thought, "Man, I would love to sit with You Jesus for just a few hours, and see You, and hear Your voice, and then I would really know what to do, and would really be encouraged and built-up to do it."
Then I read this story about Hudson Taylor a little later. I think the Lord is showing me I simply need to take some extended time with Him, through the Word, prayer, and pondering in the spirit, with His Spirit. I am basically too much like Martha in my heart, and need to be more like Mary in my heart. Mary had the real Jesus, and what an honor and great blessing that was, however, I do have the awesome blessing of having His Holy Spirit abiding in me.
"And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”